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Parenthood must mean being able to accept that you are a complete and total fool.  I am over qualified.

Remember my last blog, the one where I talked about my son taking a trip to Lake Geneva to meet a friend, then go watch girls they know from summer camp play in a volleyball tournament?

I forget that every teenager at one time or another is going to lie to their parent(s).  Am I wrong or am I right?  All I know is that there might have just been a time or two that I deceived my own parents when I was a teenager.

Paybacks are a… BITCH.

Late Saturday night, Nate called me to ask if he could stay overnight with his friend in Lake Geneva.  It was 9:30, late enough that I thought it best that he did not drive home in the dark, so I reminded him that I did not want to go all weekend without my car and I wanted him home early the next morning.  Bedtime came for me and I rested peacefully knowing that my son was safe.

I was roused from my sleep around 1:30 in the morning by a frantic wife, babbling about how I had made a mistake by restricting our son’s phone so he would not be able to place a call after midnight.  She yelled at me to give her the phone number for our cell carrier so she could change that.

Oh, and then she told me that Nate was calling her from a Walmart parking lot in Grinnell, Iowa, nearly 5 hours away from our home in the western Chicago suburbs.  He was calling from the Walmart manager’s phone.

She kept yelling at me as I stumbled downstairs to get my PC and check the status of his phone via our cell phone carrier’s website.  Nate was telling a fib.  He was not restricted on the weekend.  Truth was, he had ignored my admonition to take his phone charging cord with him.  His phone battery was nearly dead.

His plan was to sleep overnight in the Walmart parking lot.  He needed money.. because he actually had not saved his money as he had told us.  He needed gas because the gas tank was nearly empty.

The girl from camp lives in Grinnell, Iowa.  The things we boys do for love.

Do I need to say that I was angry?  I grabbed the keys to Miriam’s car, muttering threats that the boy would never ever drive my car again.  I also had muttered something not too kind when my wife was yelling from the top of the stairs, something I had to apologize for before I left to go find the prodigal.  It was 2 AM.

I arrived in Grinnell a little before 7 AM on Sunday.  Good thing it was a long drive because I had time to think about things, decide that being angry would only hurt me.  So I found Nate at the Walmart, knocked on the window to get his attention, asked him how he was doing and what he planned on doing.

“I’m going to church with her in a few hours, then head home.  Are you going to make me come home?”

“No, you’re here and even though I probably should, I am not going to ruin this for you.  I am going to go with you to a gas station, fill this car with gas, then give you some cash for food and in case you need more gas to get home.  We’ll talk about this when you get home.”

And that’s what I did.  I was angry, did my best to control the anger, may have even been a bit too nice to him.  We got the gas and the money, I said good bye, and turned back to Chicagoland in Miriam’s car.  I got home at 1 PM, headed up to bed, slept 2 hours.  Miriam was gone when I woke, didn’t get home until Nate got home — at 10:30 that night.

Yesterday I spent some time talking to my parents about it, then talked to Miriam.  We decided on a punishment, then had the talk with Nate last night.  No car privileges until October and future trips will be limited.

OK, looks like I call him my boy, not my young man, for a while longer.

On a positive note — he lied, but wasn’t getting into trouble.  I tried to give him credit for that when I talked to him.

Until next time….

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